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BLOOMSBURY GIRLS by Natalie Jenner

One bookshop. Fifty-one rules. Three women who break them all.

1950. Bloomsbury Books on London’s Lamb’s Conduit Street has resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the manager’s unbreakable rules. But after the turmoil of war in Europe, the world is changing and the women in the shop have plans.

The brilliant and stylish Vivien Lowry, still grieving her fiancé who was killed in action, has a long list of grievances, the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the head of fiction.

Loyal Grace Perkins is torn between duty and dreams of her own while struggling to support her family following her husband’s breakdown.

Fiercely bright Evie Stone was one of the first female Cambridge students to earn a degree, but was denied an academic position in favour of a less accomplished male rival. Now she plans to remake her own future.

As these Bloomsbury Girls interact with literary figures of the time among them Daphne du Maurier, Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, Vivien, Grace and Evie plot out a richer and more rewarding future.

Title : Bloomsbury Girls
Author : Natalie Jenner
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 431
Genre : Historical
Publisher : Allison & Busby
Release Date : February 16, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Delightfully book-centric
Gender power struggles
Empowering and hopeful

Bloomsbury Girls was a totally immersive read. Set in the 1950 in London, the impact of WW2 was still being felt. Rationing was coming to an end, the UK was opening up in a societal way and women were finding their voice in their own lives and those around them. However, nothing about this read was heavy, I found it light, easy and I really enjoyed it.

The story was set around Bloomsbury Books (bookshop) which piqued my interest straight away, not only that, it was set in a time of many famous authors and publishers. This book was name-drop central but authentically so. I loved seeing a glimpse of Du Maurier, mentions of Orwell and other writers. The focus of this book was a trio of women working at the bookshop, all very different but equally likeable. The rules of the shop were really something…

I loved Vivien’s spiky and fearless personna, Eve was shrouded in secrets but Grace’s humble and unassuming personality and circumstances was the one that I liked most. There was so much going on for each of these women. Feminism was a key theme in this book but seeing that emerge in a very personal way for each was different to how we sometimes see this.

The male characters were also engaging, I really liked Lord Baskin and Ash. The other men gave me serious side eye but that made for interesting reading.

This historical bookish read is so worth your time. The era is engrossing and the bookish context up any bookworm’s street.

Thank you to Allison & Busby for the review copy.


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